Tag: Software Studies


The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready

My article on ‘The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready‘ has been published in the first issue of the new (open access) journal Social Media + Society. Abstract In this article, I inquire into Facebook’s development as a platform by situating it within the transformation of social network sites into social media platforms. I explore this shift with a historical perspective on, what I refer to as, platformization, or the rise of the platform as the dominant infrastructural and economic model of the social web and its consequences. Platformization entails the extension of social media platforms into the rest of the web and their drive to make external web data “platform ready.” The specific technological architecture and ontological distinctiveness of platforms will be examined by taking their programmability into account. I position platformization as a form of platform critique that inquires into the dynamics of the decentralization of platform features and the recentralization of “platform ready” data as a way to examine the consequences of the programmability of social media platforms for the web. The full article is available online at Social Media + Society.

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The web as platform: Data flows in social media

On September 23, 2015 I will publicly defend my dissertation ‘The web as platform: Data flows in social media’ at the University of Amsterdam. Read the English summary/Nederlandse samenvatting or download the full dissertation as PDF (43Mb). Abstract This dissertation looks into the history of Web 2.0 as “the web as platform” (O’Reilly 2004) and traces the transition of social network sites into social media platforms to examine how social media has transformed the web. In order to understand this process from an infrastructural perspective, I develop the concept of “platformization”. This notion refers to the rise and consequences of the platform as the dominant infrastructural and economic model of the social web. Platformization, I argue, rests on a dual logic of social media platforms’ extension into the rest of the web and, simultaneously, their drive to make external web data “platform ready”. I draw on digital methods to study the effects of social media on the web’s infrastructure and formulate a platform critique by examining the platform-specific objects that have been introduced by social media platforms such as social buttons and short URLs. Doing so, the thesis offers a contribution the emerging fields of software studies and platform studies. […]

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The Algorithmization of the Hyperlink

My article “The Algorithmization of the Hyperlink” has just been published in the third issue of Computational Culture: a journal of software studies. Abstract This study looks at the history of the hyperlink from a medium-specific perspective by analyzing the technical reconfiguration of the hyperlink by engines and platforms over time. Hyperlinks may be seen as having different roles belonging to specific periods, including the role of the hyperlink as a unit of navigation, a relationship marker, a reputation indicator and a currency of the web. The question here is how web devices have contributed to constituting these roles and how social media platforms have advanced the hyperlink from a navigational device into a data-rich analytical device. By following how hyperlinks have been handled by search engines and social media platforms, and in their turn have adapted to this treatment, this study traces the emergence of new link types and related linking practices. The focus is on the relations between hyperlinks, users, engines and platforms as mediated through software and in particular the process of the algorithmization of the hyperlink through short URLs by social media platforms. The important role these platforms play in the automation of hyperlinks through platform […]

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In San Diego at the Software Studies Workshop

I just arrived in San Diego where I will be attending the Software Studies Workshop and present my current research at UCSD. After that I will go to the HASTAC II Conference in Irvine where I will be on the Software Studies Panel and Los Angeles. Thank you very much to the Institute of Network Cultures who made this trip possible.

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Lev Manovich on User Generated Content @ Video Vortex

The following post is a combination of a transcription of Manovich’s keynote and my own notes and commentary. Introduction by Geert Lovink Online video is renegotiating its (problematic) relationship with cinema. It deals with cinematographic principles versus the principles of the online age. We cannot directly transfer the cinematographic principles into the online age as new media has its own specificities. YouTube is not just video on the web but YouTube is a natively digital object. Ten years ago Lev Manovich proposed to consider the database as the (new) dominant media form. The database is the hegemonic media form online, as can be seen on YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and Google. We should think beyond technology now the database is also becoming a dominant social form. The database is shaping the social. User Generated Content by Lev Manovich After the novel, and subsequently cinema privileged narrative as the key form of cultural expression of the modern age, the computer age introduces its correlate – database. Many new media objects do not tell stories; they don’t have beginning or end; in fact, they don’t have any development, thematically, formally or otherwise which would organize their elements into a sequence. Instead, they are […]

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Review: Cutting Code. Software And Sociality – Adrian Mackenzie

Peter Lang, New York, NY, USA 2006 216 pp. Paperback, $31.95 USD ISBN 0-8204-7823-7 Buy at Amazon Cutting Code addresses the subject of software that has previously been marginalized due to its invisibility. Software is a very mutable object that is entangled in a web of relations. Mackenzie thus sees software as a social object and process that is intrinsically linked to code as a material and practice. Software has previously been studied from a formalist approach by Manovich. The problem with such an approach is that software is abstracted from practices and contexts surrounding coding and reduced to “relations and operations (such as sorting, comparing, copying, removing) on items of data.”1 These relations and operations are seen as quite stable forms and are often directly transfered from the field of computer science. Instead of abstracting and formalizing software Mackenzie argues for an ontology of software that deals with the mutability of software and its web of relations. Code is at the core of this web that software weaves: […] it treats the sociality of the software, the relations that obtain in its neighborhood, as mutable, involuted agential relations indexed by code.2 Mackenzie contributes to the emerging field of Software […]

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